Organized 1780
Local History and Genealogy



The History of Athens, Vermont, From Log Hut to Trailer, 1779 - 1960, with Genealogies, by Lora M. Wyman (1963).

The small town of Athens, Vermont was granted March 11th, and chartered May 3, 1780 to Solomon Harvey, John Moore, Jonathan Perham and associates. The beginning of the settlement of the town was made in the fall of 1779 by Jonathan Perham, Seth Oak, Joseph Rosier, James Shafter, and Jonathan Foster, who made an attempt at clearing the land but soon left. In February 25, 1780, Jonathan Perham and Ephraim Holden came with their families from Rindge, NH. Soon, they were followed by Seth Oak and family from Winchenden, Mass, Samuel Bayley from Sterling, Mass., and Micha Read from Westmorland, NH. During this time, land was cleared, log homes were built, a saw mill and grist mill were built and the families began to farm. On the 18th of September in 1780, a son of Jonathan Perham, Isaac, became the town's first death.

In obedience to the charter, Athens was organized on March 4, 1781. William Beal became the first town clerk, Daniel Fuller, Jabez Hurd, and Calvin Oak were appointed selectmen and Abel Matoon became the town's first representative. The town began to grow quickly as roads were built and mills were running. And just twelve years later, Athens had 450 settlers.

The Perhams came to Athens March 1795 from Townshend, Mass. Other setlers to follow were Ephraim Holden, James Shafer, Samuel Balch, Silas Powers who lived on the farm first owned by Silas Chipman. David Robbins occupied the grist mill and Stephen Farrington and Ethalston Bayley began farming. These farmers began making yearly trips to Boston with produce to barter for supplies they needed.

Vital Records

  • Athens Town Clerk
    Darlene Wyman
    25 Brookline Road
    Athens, VT 05143



  • West Cemetery

  • Athens Valley Cemetery


  • Revolutionary War soldiers from Athens --- Many of the early settlers may have fought for a time in the Revolutionary war. However, nine are listed as veterans. They are: Josiah POWERS; James SHAFTER; Capt. Seth OAK; Johnathan and Leonard PERHAM; Ezekiel PERHAM; Nathaneil and Calvin OAK; and Capt. Ezra CHAFFEE. Three are known to be buried in Athens, Capt. Seth OAK, Capt. Ezra CHAFFEE, and Josiah POWERS.

  • Athens in the Civil War

 Census Records

Prominent People of Athens

  • Oscar Lovell Shafter --- Lawyer and Justice of Supreme Court of California, 1864-1868.

  • Elmer Darwin Bell --- Entomologist and Author.



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